Just Try and Cross Them!

By Joseph Bailey ’15
Intern, Univ. Communications

This year, for the first time since the group’s founding in 1999, the University of Rochester Mock Trial club sent two teams to the prestigious Open Round Championships (ORCs). This came about because one of their teams placed in the top seven, taking second at Regionals for an automatic bid, and the other took 8th, narrowly missing an automatic bid, but still securing an open bid to the ORCs.

The president of the club, Hannah Sherry ’13, says that usually only the best mock trial programs and the largest universities send two teams to ORCs, so she is very excited to have earned that honor this year. The teams competed in ORC’s in Greenville, S.C. and in Hamilton, Ohio.

The club typically begins the year with about 35 members, which is carefully winnowed down to around 25. Of these 25, 17 are currently competing. One of these members is Wil Dietz ’16, a newcomer to the college mock trial scene, who won the outstanding witness distinction at a competition a few weeks ago.

This year’s case is one regarding the recklessness of a made-up scuba diving company. Other year’s cases have included murder and drunk driving. However, our mock trial team must spend half their time preparing a case proving how reckless the scuba company was, leading to a fictitious woman’s death, and the other half defending the scuba company. The team only works on one case each year, and tries it at all competitions they attend.

With the occasional help of lawyers from the greater Rochester area, the club practices cross-examinations, directs, and opening and closing statements. The Mock Trial team will quickly become a force for justice in the courtrooms of tomorrow.